recycling sermons

Unless or until I ever get my hands on a Tablet PC I will continue to print out my sermons on paper each week. And after each Sunday I empty the ring binder I use, putting the sermons into my paper recycling bin. (That’s what the heading refers to, I’m not talking about reusing old sermons or using one that somebody else has preached).

I’m about to begin work on next Sunday morning’s sermon and the thought struck me that most of our congregation will have done the same as I have: discarding last week’s sermon and looking forward to the next one (possibly). Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think the preaching sermons is irrelevant or unimportant. I know from the feedback I received week by week that God speaks to people through sermons.

Sometimes he speaks to an individual with a particular word or phrase. sometimes the theme of the sermon is relevant to a person. Occasionally it can seem as if the preacher knows everything about you with what they are saying (I can assure you I never intentionally preach like that) as God’s Spirit engages with you. I have had the experience occasionally that someone will thank me for what I said in a sermon, and when I ask them what it was they tell me something but I’m sure I didn’t say! God certainly moves in mysterious ways.

Sometimes perhaps people forget what was said much more quickly, particularly if God did not say something that was directly relevant to their own current circumstances.

I’m reminded of some correspondence that took place in a national newspaper awhile ago. Someone had written a letter in asking whether there was any point in listening to sermons. They had been in church for 40 years, week by week, and they could not remember any of the sermons that had been preached. They wondered whether these sermons were doing any good. the correspondence continued for a while and was ended when somebody wrote in that they had eaten meals every day for the last 40 years and could not remember any of them. They wondered if they had done them any good.

Be blessed, Be a blessing.


One thought on “recycling sermons

  1. Nice analogy! I don’t keep the papers that I used to, but the sermons seem to stick with me better now. I think preaching series versus through a book or sermons disconnected from week to week has improved the longevity of the sermon concepts I’m trying to get across. For instance, series titles stick with me. But I give very little attention to sermon titles. We just did a series called “stronghold.” I must have said “stronghold” a thousand times over six weeks. That is going to have an effect, you know?

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